After four years of AP classes, foreign languages, sports and general overachieving to earn spots in elite universities, the 70 members of the Weber School’s largest graduating class yet were advised to slack off.

“Take the easiest classes you can,” faculty speaker Mitch White told the Class of 2018 at its graduation ceremony Friday, May 25, at Georgia Tech’s Ferst Center for the Arts.

White, a social studies teacher and the dean of students and academic planning, who is leaving Weber to lead a school in Cleveland, emphasized that the advice applies to only the first semester of college, a time of transition that can be challenging enough without a brutal course load. “You can always take the harder classes later,” he said. “There’s no downside.”

That was one of three pieces of advice White offered the new graduates, along with living where the people don’t speak English and creating a personal board of directors to help make important decisions. “If one of you takes one of those pieces of advice and it makes your life a little better,” he said, “I’ll feel like I’ll have done my job here.”

The penultimate graduate of the Class of 2018, Jason Zarge, gives Rabbi Ed Harwitz, the Weber head of school, a big hug before receiving his diploma.

The ceremony was a special one for the head of school, Rabbi Ed Harwitz, because he and the Class of 2018 started at Weber together in 2014.

He recalled watching the new freshmen with Director of Admissions

Rise Arkin and saying, “‘Rise, we’re going to build this school around them.’ I have to say in this case I was right.”

Rabbi Harwitz praised the graduates for fulfilling their role of building up the school, leaving it stronger, while beginning to take on their Jewish mission of building peace and justice in the world through their creativity, passion, chutzpah, spirit and love for one another.

The Weber Class of 2018 enjoys some of Rabbi Ed Harwitz’s final words before the distribution of diplomas.

“This is your time now. You graduate high school as our world faces great and complex challenges but also at a time of unlimited opportunities,” Rabbi Harwitz said. “We are looking to you, and we are counting on you.”

Aaron Gordon delivers the d’var Torah at the Weber graduation.

Counting was the theme of graduating senior Aaron Gordon’s d’var Torah, based on the census completed in Parshat Naso.

“Each of us made a critical mark on the Weber community,” he said. “Just as each person was counted equally in the census of the Jewish people, each of our contributions to the school have been critically important in making Weber what it is today.”

Salutatorian Rosa Brown

Salutatorian Rosa Brown said the Class of 2018 has thrived, gaining acceptance to more than 30 colleges and earning major scholarships, but also has learned that “high school isn’t about attaining perfection. It’s about striving.”

After 13 years of having teachers wish he would talk more in class, valedictorian Sammy Weiss-Cowie acknowledged his awkward position as a graduation speaker. He used the opportunity to charge his classmates with respectfully engaging in both ends of constructive dialogue — speaking and listening — just as they have throughout their time at Weber, where they showed that a community can survive different perspectives.

With his speaking role complete, valedictorian Sammy Weiss-Cowie awaits his turn to walk across the stage and get his diploma.

“I implore you to have both the confidence in the unique ideas I know each of you has to impart and the humility to never underestimate what you can learn from others,” he said.

Weber Class of 2018

The following are the 70 students who graduated from the Weber School on Friday, May 25.

Jordan Benjamin Arbiv
Walt Dmitry Arkhipov
Jael Zahava Azani
Miles Harrison Barkowitz
Carly Grace Berman
Courtney Leigh Berman
Averie Megan Bernstein
Emily Michelle Bernstein
Rosasharn Lilly Brown
Justin Lawton Cobb
Neri Sara Cohen
Micah Benjamin Cohen
Chloe Hope Deutsch
Julie Hannah Dichtenberg
Liora Isabelle Dressler
Isabelle Hannah Faidley Jacobs
Samuel Atticus Fialkow
Omer Friedman
Abigail Danielle Goldberg
Harrison Maxwell Goldfein
Aaron Joel Gordon
Lior Dov Granath
Samuel Michael Halpern
Aaron Ross Heller
Jeremy Ezra Hellmann
Hannah Ruth Jones
Sophia Darby Jones
Rachel Bloom Kaplan
Eli Isaac Katz
Nadav Kishban Yeglin
Hannah Simkin Krinsky
Camille Ariel Levin
Noa Elizabeth Levy
Sarah Bena Lewyn
Eric Connor Lieberman
Ira Livnat
Daniel David Livnat
Raye Claire Merlin
Elijah Jakob Meyers
Mallory Nicole Nathan
Zachary Louis Negin
Dylan Nicole Oakes
Idan Pinhasi
Hannah Rose Ripans
Paul Jacob Rosing
Steven Allen Rubin
Hannah Isabelle Saban
Mollie Alyssa Schwarz
Jolie Elizabeth Seir
Ezekiel Amichai Siegman
Lucy Jayne Singer
Liana Bret Slomka
Adam Benjamin Spector
Adam Jesse Spielberger
Asher Jacob Stadler
Zoe Rose Starr
Daniel Conrad Stearns
Skyler Matthew Swislow
Megan Nicole Swygert
Julia Belle Tresh
Noah William Trugman
Liana Lei Turiansky
Zachary Aaron Vexler
Sophia Jo Videlefsky
Samuel Aaron Weiss-Cowie
Isaac Noah Weissman
Molly Jaclyn Yoels
Parker Lane Zaglin
Jason Randy Zarge
Levi Sterling Zindler

Photos by Michael Jacobs